Newly opened Ciao Chow, Central – a range of tried and true Italian staples

Choose from a menu with an extensive list of Italian cold cuts, a few antipasti items, pasta and pizza

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 December, 2015, 1:11pm
UPDATED : Monday, 21 December, 2015, 1:11pm

Ciao Chow –the latest restaurant to open at the new California Tower – offers casual Italian fare. We went a few days after it opened so there were still a few kinks in the service, but everything should improve with time.

The ground floor space opens up so passers-by can look inside, enticing them to check it out. The restaurant has banquette seating and an open kitchen at the back that features two large copper and brick ovens to bake pizza in minutes.

It can be daunting to decide what to eat as the menu has an extensive list of Italian cold cuts to choose from with a few antipasti items, pasta and pizza. We weren’t quite sure how big the portions would be, and it turns out we could have ordered more.

The wooden platter seemed sparse with these three antipasti dishes: spicy pecorino cheese (HK$78) – two triangles of very mild cheese with pizza dough bread; grilled seasonal vegetables (HK$32), that consisted of one thin slice each of zucchini and eggplant, with two small tomatoes; and bruschetta with black olives (HK$38) – three slices of grilled ciabatta topped with tapenade.

Next came spaghetti in what was described as “a rich sea urchin sauce” (HK$198). The pasta was definitely covered in the sauce, but sadly the sea urchin had a fishy smell and taste, with a gritty texture.

The meal improved with the calabrese pizza (HK$128), which had a chewy crust, San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, parmigiano reggiano, and salami calabrese. The chilli flakes on top gave the pizza an irresistible slow-burning, spicy flavour.

The non-alcoholic drinks selection looks fun. We wanted to order the aged balsamic punch (HK$58) – fig and vanilla aged balsamic mixed with fresh juice, but it was already sold out by 7pm on a Monday.

Instead, we enjoyed the basil-ade (HK$58), a refreshing basil, lime and seasonal berry drink with lots of crushed ice.

For dessert, we couldn’t resist the pizza dough ravioli filled with Nutella and banana slices (HK$58). It came as one giant rectangular package, that when sliced open, was oozing with warm Nutella that was a delicious combination with the bananas.

Ciao Chow, California Tower, 30-32 D’Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, tel: 2344 0005